Traditionally, the third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of Joy. The name originates from the Latin word for “rejoice,” the first word of the introit of this day’s Mass:
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
which translates as:
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob. (Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1)
Gaudete Sunday is a counterpart to Laetare Sunday of Lent, both of which provide a joyful pause about midway through an otherwise penitential season and signifies the nearness of the Lord’s coming.
The message of the readings and the anticipation that Christmas is nearing inspire in us great joy. The rose-colored vestments worn by the celebrants of the Mass and the rose-colored candle of the Advent wreath serve as visual reminders of our rejoicing in the midst of our spiritual preparations for the coming of Christ.